October 1, 2009

GH: Isle of Pines

by Logisti

This investigation is special for a couple of reasons. First off, apparently Meat Loaf is a huge Ghost Hunters fan and seemed almost beyond excited to be accompanying  Jason and Grant on an investigation. We've seen celebrities join TAPS before on numerous occasions but never with quite so much enthusiasm — which honestly I thought was really great because his presence there seemed a lot less like a PR arrangement and more genuine. I might observe that untrained investigators still run the risk of misinterpreting evidence or any number of other pitfalls that shouldn't happen with trained investigators, but for whatever reason as anyone paying attention knows the entire TAPS team seems determined to mimic the inadequacies of untrained investigators anyway so no harm done.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that their host is the winner of the Great American Ghost Hunt. Fans who have been following the series will recall two major contests, one  where people submitted applications to become a member of the TAPS team and another where people described experiences at locations they thought TAPS would be interested in investigating. The first contest resulted in the winning finalist being in on exactly one investigation before reportedly bowing out due to  work (or whatever) — so that seemed a bit of a letdown. The other contest only promised a single investigation, but it seemed even that one investigation might have been forgotten. Not so. This is that investigation, and it looked to be quite interesting. A private island, a full episode devoted to a single location, and Meat Load working a K-II meter? What more could a scientifically-minded viewer want? Wait. Scientific is a synonym for visceral, right? Well, one of those in any case.

As the investigation began we're treated to some very interesting evidence: Battery drains. In the past we've seen battery drains in various devices but almost exclusively one device at a time and not once have we heard about the batteries draining on any of the production crew's equipment, only TAPS' equipment. For that reason alone it's easy to suspect at best the cause was the TAPS team not checking/charging their equipment with the same level of professionalism expected of production camera crews. This case was different though — not only does Meat Loaf's camcorder battery die, but so does his audio recorder, AND one of the production cameras. On top of this, it looks like the battery on the FLIR is about empty as well. At the same time the K-II begins to go crazy.

All of this together seems firmly beyond coincidence. Frankly, if we didn't have excellent reason to believe at a minimum that Jay and Grant at least have violated the audience's trust on multiple occasions, and that the either they or the production company doctored thermal footage on at least one occasion and aired it as evidence, I might be inclined to say this is some of their best evidence to date.  I will say this much: if we could rule out foul play then circumstantially these events are very strong evidence of something very odd going on around the investigators.

Of course, what went on next was much more familiar to fans of the show: Jason asked a bunch of questions and the K-II meter lit up in ways that were basically unquestionable responses that were far too numerous and perfectly timed to be coincidence.  If we hadn't seen every other team member (not to mention every online amateur who has tried to run a serious investigation with a K-II) fail miserably trying to achieve any remotely similar level of success even once despite Jay & Grant getting this level of response extremely regularly, one might say it was impressive. All things considered however, it long ago degenerated from "very impressive" to "extremely suspicious". At the very least we know the walkie-talkies TAPS uses will light up the K-II like a Christmas tree if anyone hits the talk button within fifty feet, and there are undoubtedly even smaller devices that will do the same.

Granted, at this point it would be difficult for Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson to lose any more credibility in my eyes, but somehow it seems every time they reproduce these incredible (as in: too good and too consistent to be credible) results they manage to sink a little farther down. I have little doubt that some time in the future we will see Kris Williams having this kind of success with the K-II, just like this investigation finally marks the first and so-far only multiple battery failure and production crew battery failure. Even if it happened tomorrow though, it would be so late in the game that any thinking member of their audience would have to consider the possibility it might somehow be staged, just like this battery incident. If it had happened in Season Two it would have been impressive, but at this point it really just looks a lot like someone from TAPS or Pilgrim went through all the blogs and took notes on the major recurring criticisms, then wrote something into the show specifically to address them.

As usual though, Steve and Tango gave us no reason to suspect anything less than an honest investigation and even came up with some solid debunking — something they seem to be doing successfully more often as of late. For a time it seemed like the producers at Pilgrim were almost reducing them to comic relief, complaining about spiders and daring each other to do stupid things, and although that's not entirely gone it would seem Pilgrim heard the fans and backed off significantly. Now with more substance included in the aired portion of the investigations we get to see that Steve and Dave are making significant contributions to just about every investigation. In this case, there had been reports of music and other sounds outside the house and Steve observed how clearly he could hear a people at a party that was a half-mile or more distant across the water. He reasoned that if people reported hearing music coming from the house it's worth considering maybe they're mistaken about the origin and they were actually experiencing the acoustical oddity of clear sounds traveling very long distances across water.

Later on we see another K-II session that leaves nothing to be desired, this time with Meat Loaf asking most of the questions and Jay & Grant observing nearby. Twice Meat Loaf asked for and received a banging noise, although as even Meat Loaf noted, the noise wasn't coming from the room he was in with the K-II but rather from outside in another room near where Grant was standing (out of visual contact). I couldn't hold back the chuckle when Meat Loaf heard the noise coming from outside the room and asked, "That wasn't you, Grant?" and of course Grant answered, "No!" in a tone of voice that seemed genuinely surprised anyone would ask that question. Personally I don't know how anyone could not be suspicious when a spirit seems to be in one room when he's allegedly manipulating the K-II meter, but goes off-camera to another room when asked to make a sound.

In what might be a TAPS first, Meat Loaf put his bottle of water in a bathroom and asked any nearby spirits to bring the bottle closer to him — then he, Grant and Jason backed out of the bathroom and observed from a distance. I think it's important to note that Meat Loaf was not looking into the bathroom the entire time, so if there was any foul play there's no reason to believe he was aware of it. The thing is, on the one hand his water bottle was definitely moved. On the other hand, he left it in the bathroom — on the sill of an open first-floor window. I mean, I guess if we had blind trust that everyone on the production crew was completely honest and would never attempt to spice things up with false evidence, maybe then I'd ignore the fact that anyone could walk right up to the bathroom from the outside of the house and move the water bottle without Meat Loaf seeing anyone going in or out of the room, but since we're well past the blind trust stage of our relationship I'm forced to guffaw heartily at the very thought of taking this evidence as a paranormal occurrence.

Steve & Tango heard some knocking as well, but although it was very clear there was really no way to rule out non-paranormal causes. Frankly, after watching the reveal and hearing Grant's retelling of Meat Loaf's K-II session I really just have to shake my head. I mean, seriously — when Meat Loaf asks questions it lights up the K-II meter right next to him, but when he asks it to make a sound it goes outside and bangs a door he can't see, which also happens to be right next to where Grant is standing? If ghosts who are  actively communicating in Room A can only make doors move in Room B where Grant is standing nearby and I can't see what's going on, well then I'm just going to have to assume either there is no ghost and Grant is banging the door while someone else manipulates the K-II with some sort of transmitter, or else there really is a ghost and he's determined to make poor, innocent Grant look suspicious.

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Comments on GH: Isle of Pines »

October 1, 2009

The Doctor @ 7:48 pm

On GoogleEarth 44°16'45.76"N 76° 0'46.78"W

Logisti @ 10:03 pm

Hah! I was just trying to find it. Thanks, Doctor.

I was actually planning on having this review up tonight but I'm going away for a long weekend starting early tomorrow and I've been so busy packing and what-not that I haven't even had a chance to watch it (lol but I watched enough to discover Meat Loaf is apparently a REALLY, REALLY big GH fan).

So again, no review until early next week :( I know you guys are probably used to it by now, I'm sorry about it and just wanted to let everyone know in advance. Of course, post your comments as usual! Now, I've got to be up in six hours so I must go. Have a great Friday + Weekend everybody!

October 2, 2009

Stephen @ 12:56 am

And I'm out of here as well, by strange coincidence, though I may have internet access where I'm heading. Everyone play nice while we're gone! :)

Lar @ 6:59 am

BELIEVE THIS! I have DeBunked the LIE that IS TAPS. Don't believe me? WATCH!In 90 seconds you too will believe it is as it always has been… a scam!

Angelayo1970 @ 7:17 am

Lar, that debunk is already being widely discussed in the Forum thread titled "Meatloaf Episode".

Mary @ 8:07 am

Lar, thanks for posting that link. Now I could finally confirm with my eyes what I thought I saw during the original broadcast. The only thing the TAPS team needed to add was a sheet-covered person floating past the open window!

Lar @ 8:31 am

Thanks. I didn't read the forum. But there it is in black & white (literally).
Until next Wednesday….

J. Allen @ 12:44 pm

I saw that, also.
At first I did miss it, but when I was watching it again on my DVR, it caught my attention. I ran it back and watched that segment again, and sure enough, window closed, window open. I've been skeptical for a while, but I didn't want to believe that Jay & Grant would purposely try to fool people. They were supposed to be the good guys, trying to debunk old wives tales' and myths, and promote the possibility that if a place was haunted, they'd have some kind of strong evidence. This, of course, has fallen by the wayside, and it's a shame. I used to respect them, particularly Grant.


JohnGalt @ 1:29 pm

Lar – great grab! You know, as I watched the episode I had that "something isn't right" thought but I didn't rewind the DVR. I was more on guard for signs of G or J messing with the bottle.

How did Pilgrim continuity miss THAT. Wonder whether it was missed intentionally by staffer who has had enough. Or just sloppy work by the magician's assistant. Either way: It's the "wow" moment – and it's there for all to see.

Revenant @ 1:56 pm

Well…PS had their "magical moving Soap Dispenser" and now GH has their "magical moving Water Bottle." Both not so magical and both not so believable. I'm just not sure what's up with trying to pull off a hoax in bathrooms. I can't wait to see what is going to be moving around in the upcoming season of GA…maybe a tube of toothpaste…

Judy Holiday @ 2:01 pm

I kept doozing off during the show and I thought I had imagined the "window scenario" at first but caught it on the re-run show right after DT and I have to admit that I'm very disappointed in GHs.The whole K-2 thing was a bit much and just down right stupid.I've never believed that it was legit from the first time they brought it out to use in the Manson case.If the owners brother was hit in the head like he said that he was how on earth did he not get a concussion(SP?) or a least not get knocked out.I thought that was also a bit dramatic.I'm very ill with J&G they've let ratings and money take over what little bit of standing they had and now they just look and sound pathetic.

wwayneross @ 3:12 pm

I noticed the open window right away but I did not believe that they could be so obvious and the fact they didn't try to cover their asses on this one?? It's getting to be rediculous and the fact they don't acknowledge camera crew, sound, production when in the past at least they had a little interaction. They've become a joke. I wonder which production member opened the window, snuck into the bathroom and moved the bottle?

Lar @ 4:04 pm

I was just watching the clip again and while I often blast the GRANTED one (& rightfully so), this one belongs to Jay. He's even less believable than Grant:
Until next Wednesday and this time I mean it.

October 3, 2009

midgie @ 8:18 am

What if the water bottle on the toilet was there all along? Is there a shot confirming that it wasn't?

After all, if there were a 2nd bottle of the same brand on the pot the entire time, all the crew had to do was open the window and remove only ML's bottle – much simpler than climbing in and out of windows, and creeping around bathrooms ninja-style. And it would create the illusion that the bottle had "moved."

Even for a ghost, isn't placing the bottle on the toilet kind of…conspicuous? If the ghost was moving it closer…why not the sink? Why not the floor? Why not float all the way out of the bathroom and right into ML's thirsty paws?

Why, instead, tuck it neatly on the commode amongst other bathroom junk where no one would see…unless they were specifically looking for it?

I think that the water bottles were from some kind of community cooler (so they are the same brand). Someone placed a half-used bottle on the pooper so that it would blend in with the other mish-mash stuff on there. If one were to give the room a quick glance, they wouldn't notice it.

Then the hoax goes into full-swing while a crewmember opens the window and removes one bottle while TAPS happily points out seconds later, "Hey! The bottle's on the toilet!"

M. Roget @ 8:57 am

The one good thing in this ep for us over here at chez Roget- Meatloaf. My sig other worked with him on a film called "Black Dog" back in the late 90s & an epi of "Masters of Horror" later on- he became a fan of the fella. Seems he's a really nice guy (particularly nice for a film actor, they can blow hot or cold toward the crew members). Mike (aka Meatloaf) was genuinely interested in paranormal investigating back then, so that seems to not have changed. I think GH played him on the K2 like a fiddle, though, on the water bottle bs as well.

That being said, besides the beauty of the location in this ep, I thought it reeked of J/G boredom & indifference throughout. I stop watching GH for long periods due to eps that hit me just like "Isle of PInes" did, get too fed up & reprogram the dvr. When the "it's showtime!" factors greatly outweigh their attempts to investigate & debunk, I move on for a while, until curiosity at what GH is up to draws me back. Sometimes that can be a great long while….

Huckstering with a bit of hoaxing thrown in does not an acceptable GH investigation make. But those ratings stay steady, so why should SyFy/Pilgrim/GH give a care, right?

JohnGalt @ 9:25 am

Midgie – interesting thought.

Was there a clear shot of the top of the toilet tank prior to the "revelation" that the bottle had "moved"? That would indeed make it much easier to do if a second bottle was already in place (and in the darkness, to his credit, Meatloaf wouldn't necessarily have seen it).

So, do we have evidence of "The Lone Bottle"? Or was it a conspiracy – with a second bottle positioned in the grassy knoll of the stuff on top of the toilet tank?

Truly, the most fun now of watching GH is trying to look for the hoax vs. the ghost.

midgie @ 9:40 am

Ok, I used this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YztAc1lC8g&feature=related to see if I could spot a 2nd bottle all along.

I didn't see one, but I did notice something else that was a little "off."

Is this even the same ROOM???

When Grant opens the door and moves out of frame, the video darkens so they can highlight the bottle on the windowsill. I thought this was a way to distract the audience's attention to a 2nd bottle on the toilet. The bottle we're supposed to be looking at is rather hard to see on the grainy B&W, so I couldn't spot another one resting in the corner.

Anyway, you can see this "toilet" for a split-second (at 0:18) after G moves out of frame. It looks more like a bathtub to me. There is a huge basin, a couple of handles there, what appears to be an upside-down metal dish, and the tiny wicker chair that holds the little pot of fake flowers. (There's also something there that looks like soap-on-a-rope! And a rubber ducky!) There is also a shelving unit nailed to the wall.

After the bottle "moves," we get a close up of it (at 0:36), and again, it doesn't look much like a toilet, but a bathtub. You can still see the handles, the upside-down metal dish, soap-on-a-rope, rubber ducky, and the tiny wicker chair holding a pot of fake flowers. It is also obvious from the close-up that this is in a corner (the flowers are resting practically in the crack!) so its impossible that there could be a toilet behind it. (You can even see the bottom of the shelving unit here for a quick second as a point of reference)

In the other "after" shot, the one that pans from right to left (at 0:24), the bathtub is GONE. Instead, there is a normal-looking toilet, the shelving unit on the wall, and the little pot of fake flowers on some kind of stand (before, they were plopped right in the crack of the corner. Now they're just chilling on the commode tank!!!). Where is the rubber ducky? The soap-on-a-rope? The basin, the handles, the metal dish, the little wicker chair?

I'd even go so far as to say the toilet paper roll on the wall-dispenser looks more "full" in the panning "after" shot than it does in the "before."

And it does cause one to wonder, why if there was a bathtub in the corner to begin with, is there a TP dispenser beside it?

Furthermore, if we are supposed to believe it is a toilet, why is there a rubber ducky nearby? Is somebody planning on letting their baby play in the commode?! LOL

The Doctor @ 3:29 pm

@JohnGalt –

As Grant leaves and they show the enhanced image of the bottle on the window, it appears there is no second vbottle on the toilet.

For those who still believe that someone opened the window, reached in and moved the bottle, just why do you think they also put the towels on the side and back right of the tub ?

Nosfer @ 3:35 pm

Nice debunk Lar. Well, as usual, not quite. Folks, the window does not appear to be open in either shot. There are TWO windows, one is a storm window, the other is the window with the quadra-pane. The quadra-pane is shown in an UP position before they go in the bathroom. It is shown in a DOWN position when Meat puts the bottle on the sill. And it is again shown in an UP position when Grant discovers the bottle on the back of the toilet. In ALL three shots, though, the storm window appears to be in place, preventing access to the bathroom from the outside. You can even see a light reflection in the "open window" meaning there is glass or plastic there. The shots with the quadra-pane UP could have been shot later, and I think The Doctor mentions this somewhere…in none of those shots do we see either the water bottle or Grant.

The Doctor guessed this, but I can prove it. Look at the scene where Grant calls Meatloaf over and says:

Meatloaf, come here
Something missing?

During that exchange, the camera is for the slightest instant on the back of the toilet tank where the bottle supposedly is and pans over to the sill which has the quadra-pane UP. Thanks to freeze frame, I can confirm that there is no water bottle in the scene AT ALL. Not on the sill and NOT on the toilet tank, either. The next shot shows it on the tank. So, pointing out that the quadra-pane is UP, while a continuity error and pretty poor editing in my opinion, does not prove that anything was hoaxed.

The fact that no camera was on the bottle and that Jay offers some stupid excuse about not getting off a non-existent couch prove way more than the window.

BrendaLee @ 4:09 pm

Two things stood out for me about the reveal. Firstly, that Meatloaf was very considerate about the homeowners feelings of unease. He noticed her growing discomfort and told her there was nothing to worry about. He made a point of calling himself a scaredy cat and saying he had fun. I noticed neither Jay nor Grant trying to reassure her.

About the mysteriously moving water bottle: I felt like this was more of a personal story than something TAPs could present as evidence. They did not have a camera on it, the window obviously moved (as others here have pointed out) and there was no footage of the door of the room to prove that no one had entered it after the bottle was left. Without these things to back it up, this just becomes an unexplained story.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the 'good ole days' Jay and Grant would discard stories they couldn't prove and not present them to the client. I feel this event should have stayed in the personal bin. (Well, or entirely out of the episode, but what can you do?)

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